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"At the Beach"

"At the Beach"

6" x 8", Oil on Board 20026

John Alexander McDougall (1811 - 1894 )


John Alexander McDougall was a native of Livingston, New Jersey, but spent most of his career in Newark.  His birth date has been reported as 1810 or 1811.  By 1838 he had a working partnership in Newark with George Ross:  McDougall specialized in miniatures - small portraits about 2-3 inches in size - while Ross painted large oil portraits. He painted crests, coats of arms, and pictures on coach panels and doors. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has McDougall's portrait of Henry Clay, a watercolor miniature on ivory.  Although he lived and worked in Newark, McDougall also maintained a studio in New York City.


He had a daughter and five sons, including the cartoonist Walt McDougall, the artist John A. McDougall Jr. (also a miniaturist), and Harry C. McDougall, proprietor of the Newark Sunday Call. McDougall was good friends with painters George Inness and Asher B. Durand, as well as writers Washington Irving and Edgar Allan Poe, whom he painted.

McDougall began his career as a miniaturist but was later employed as a photographer; he may also have practiced lithography. 

In 1854 he removed his studio to Newark and continued painting portraits in oil and watercolor for many years. He also developed a love for landscape painting and produced many works of that style. Several of his paintings are now owned by The Newark Museum.

Biography adapted from:

 William H. Gerdts, Painting and Sculpture in New Jersey (Princeton, NJ: Van Nostrand, 1964), pp.46-47.

Hildreth York and Mary R. Murrin, The Arts and Entertainment in New Jersey (Trenton: New Jersey Historical Commission, Department of State, 1996), p.19.

Metropolitan Museum of Art website

And the Appleton’s Annual Encyclopedia.



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